India Needs A Decisive Prime Minister, Not Maverick Leadership, Says Arun Jaitley
Citing the achievements of the Narendra Modi government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today India needs a decisive prime minister with a clear mandate to deliver economic growth and satisfy the country's aspirations, and not an unworkable alliance with maverick leadership.
Jaitley in a blog said India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy under Modi though it is still not satisfied with 7-7.5 percent GDP growth and wants to "break the 8 percent barrier".
"Who should be India's Prime Minister, if India were to achieve this? Should he/she be constrained by his/her rival aspirants who have reluctantly supported him/her out of mere dislike for a common opponent or does India need a Prime Minister with a clear mandate as in 2014,” he said in the blog titled 'Political stability, Decisive Leadership and a Clear Mandate—Their Relationship with Growth' .
"Only such a Prime Minister can deliver growth and satisfy the Nation's aspirations," Jaitley said in an apparent dig at 'mahagathbandhan' being propped up by opposition parties with the sole objective of defeating the BJP in the forthcoming general elections.
“The pre-requisite for ensuring growth is a decisive leadership, consistency in policy direction and a strong and stable government, and not 'an unworkable alliance with maverick leadership whose longevity is a suspect can never achieve this’."
Jaitley, according to people in the know, is in the U.S. for a medical check-up. He underwent a kidney transplant last year.
Under Modi, Jaitley said India recorded a growth rate of 7.3 percent during 2014-15 to 2018-19 as against 6.9 percent in UPA-I and 6.7 percent in UPA-II. Also, the inflation too during the five-year period remained at a low of 4.6 percent as against 5.7 percent in UPA-I and 10.1 percent in UPA-II.
"...the average GDP growth of 7.3 percent during the five years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a much larger base than that of his predecessors," he said.
He also said India's fiscal discipline during the past five years has been among the best as compared to any preceding period.
He further said that when Modi came to power, India was the tenth largest economy in GDP terms in the world. Presently, the fifth, sixth and seventh largest economies namely the United Kingdom, France and India are within a very narrow range.
"A marginal fluctuation of currency values alters the size of the economies. India, of course, is projected to grow next year at 7.5 percent.”
"This will conclusively ensure that India, at the end of the next Financial Year, could possibly be the fifth largest economy in the world," the Finance Minister said.
Citing a report, he said the size of India's middle-class is growing very fast from 14 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2015. It is estimated to go all the way to 44 percent in 2025.
With the kind of transfer of resources to rural India which have been made in the past five years, a huge aspirational class is emerging even in rural areas, he said.